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Primary Care Organisations Use Mishmash of Dubious Data

Primary care organisations are using a mishmash of dubious data unfairly to monitor GP referral rates, research has found.

The study of 30 London PCTs found 'wide variation' in the type and quality of data used and concluded it was 'difficult' to compare practices.

Of the 87 per cent of trusts collecting referral data, only half checked its accuracy.

Over 80 per cent used 'less accurate' data from hospital trusts and only one PCT weighted rates for practice patient numbers and health need, the study reported at the Society for Academic Primary Care annual meeting found.

Study lead Dr Gill Rowlands, a GP in Twickenham, Middlesex, said comparing practices on current data was 'not at all fair'. Dr Rowlands, head of the South London Research Network, added: 'If a referral is done by a locum or registrar the hospital will allocate it to the senior partner.'

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